How To Keep Mould Out Of Your Home [Tips]

Updated:
March 16, 2021
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Is there anything that can be done to prevent mold? Absolutely—the key to mold control is moisture control.

Mold growth often occurs when excessive water accumulates indoors, particularly if the moisture problem goes uncorrected.

Mold damage can be costly and depending on your home insurance coverage, you may not be covered.

While it's impossible to eliminate all mold spores, controlling moisture can prevent their growth. By solving all moisture problems before they escalate, you can prevent damage to building materials and furnishings, save money, and avoid potential health problems.

What is Mold

Molds are organisms that breakdown animal matter and dead plants. Though most molds grow outdoors, they can travel inside by way of open windows and doors, air conditioning systems and on pets, clothing and shoes.

Once inside your home, mold needs a moist food source, such as lint, ceiling tiles or wallpaper, to grow.

Tips to Keep Mold Out Of Your Home

  • Clean up any water damage or flooding thoroughly and immediately.
  • Use a dehumidifier and a wet/dry vacuum to remove water quickly.
  • Remove carpeting that can't be dried out within 48 hours. If your carpet was contaminated by sewer water or a flood, it needs to be replaced.
  • Repair basement cracks so that moisture cannot seep in.
  • Add mold inhibitors to paint.
  • Use a dehumidifier and/or air conditioner to reduce indoor moisture, especially during humid months of the year.
  • Empty the drip pans in your air conditioner, refrigerator and dehumidifier regularly to prevent water buildup.
  • Run the exhaust fan for 20 minutes before and after showering, or consider using a humidistat-controlled fan that turns off when the moisture is ventilated from the area.
  • Fix plumbing leaks immediately. Mold will begin to grow within 24 to 48 hours after a leak.

A mold problem can cause serious health effects, especially for young children, the elderly, those who suffer from allergies or asthma and those with prior respiratory conditions.

Symptoms of mold sensitivity include eye irritation, nasal stuffiness, shortness of breath, wheezing and mold infections in the lungs (in rare cases).

If you or a family member is experiencing some of these symptoms, consult a physician for an evaluation and diagnosis.

Tips to Keep Mold Our of Your Business

  • Be alert for condensation and wet spots.
  • Repair plumbing leaks and leaks in the building structure as soon as possible.
  • Look for condensation and wet spots, and fix source(s) of moisture incursion as soon as possible.
  • Act promptly when water leaks or spills occur indoors. Promptly stop and clean any initial water infiltration within 24 to 48 hours, and remove water-damaged materials to prevent or limit mould growth.
  • Prevent moisture from condensing by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level (humidity) in the air. To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level, you need to repair leaks, increase ventilation if outside air is cold, and dry or dehumidify if outdoor air is warm and humid.
  • Keep HVAC drip pans clean, flowing properly and unobstructed.
  • Perform regular building and HVAC inspections and maintenance, including filter changes.
  • Maintain an indoor relative humidity below 70 per cent, ideally between 25 and 60 per cent.
  • Vent moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.
  • Vent kitchens and bathrooms according to local code requirements.
  • Clean and dry wet or damp spots as soon as possible but no more than 48 hours after discovery.
  • Provide adequate drainage around buildings, and slope the ground away from building foundations. Follow all local building codes.
  • Pinpoint areas where leaks occurred. Identify the cause and take preventive action.

How do you know if you have mold in your house?

  • Are building materials or furnishings visibly moisture damaged?
  • Have building materials been wet for more than 48 hours?
  • Are there existing moisture problems in the building?
  • Are building occupants reporting musty or moldy odours?
  • Are building occupants reporting health problems that could be related to indoor mold?
  • Has the building been recently remodelled or has the building use changed?
  • Has routine maintenance been delayed or the maintenance plan been altered?

How to get rid of mold in your house

If you are unable to prevent the growth of mold using the techniques listed above, remediation will identify and correct the conditions that permit mold growth as well as offer steps to safely and effectively remove mold-damaged materials.

Before planning the remediation, assess the extent of the mold or moisture problem and the type of damaged materials. If you choose to hire outside assistance to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience with mold remediation.

The remediation plan should include steps to permanently correct the water or moisture problem. The plan should cover the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

It should also include steps to carefully contain and remove moldy building materials in a manner that will prevent further contamination. Remediation plans may vary greatly depending on the size and complexity of the job and may require revision if circumstances change.

Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold, as it could spread contamination throughout the building.

If the water or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, consult a professional who has experience in this area.

The remediation manager’s highest priority must be to protect the health and safety of the building occupants and the workers. Remediators should avoid exposing themselves and others to mold-laden dust as they conduct their cleanup activities.

Use caution to prevent mold spores from being dispersed throughout the air where they can be inhaled by building occupants. In some cases, especially those involving large areas of contamination, the remediation plan may include temporary relocation of building occupants.

If you need assistance with developing a mold remediation plan, contact Scrivens today.

Water Damage and Mold Clean-Up

Many Ontario residents have experienced water damage over the wet season, so we developed this guide to help you the next time you need remediation of mold growth by taking quick action before growth starts (within 48 hours).

Depending on the size of the areas involved and resources available, professional assistance may be needed to dry an area quickly and thoroughly.

Books and Papers

  • For non-valuable items, discard books and papers
  • Photocopy valuable/important items, discard originals
  • Freeze (in frost-free freezer or meat locker) or freeze-dry

Carpet and Backing - Dry within 24-48 hours

  • Remove water with water extraction vacuum
  • Reduce ambient humidity levels with dehumidifier
  • Accelerate drying process with fans

Ceiling Tiles

  • Discard and replace

Cellulose Insulation

  • Discard and replace

Concrete or Cinder Block Surfaces

  • Remove water with water extraction vacuum
  • Accelerate drying process with dehumidifiers, fans, and/or heaters

Fibreglass Insulation

  • Discard and replace

Hard Surface, Porous Flooring (linoleum, ceramic tile, vinyl)

  • Vacuum or damp wipe with water and mild detergent and allow to dry; scrub if necessary
  • Check to make sure under-flooring is dry; dry under-flooring if necessary

Non-Porous, Hard Surfaces (plastics, metals)

  • Vacuum or damp wipe with water and mild detergent and allow to dry; scrub if necessary

Upholstered Furniture

  • Remove water with water extraction vacuum
  • Accelerate drying process with dehumidifiers, fans, and/or heaters
  • May be difficult to completely dry within 48 hours. If the piece is valuable, you may wish to consult a restoration/water damage professional who specializes in furniture

Wallboard (drywall and gypsum board)

  • May be dried in place if there is no obvious swelling and the seams are intact. If not, remove, discard, and replace
  • Ventilate the wall cavity, if possible

Window Drapes

  • Follow laundering or cleaning instructions recommended by the manufacturer

Wood Surfaces

  • Remove moisture immediately and use dehumidifiers, gentle heat, and fans for drying. Use caution when applying heat to hardwood floors
  • Treated or finished wood surfaces may be cleaned with mild detergent and clean water and allowed to dry
  • Wet panelling should be pried away from wall for drying
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